Saturday, February 24, 2007

EU moving towards Big Brother?

I'm very alarmed by the recent news that Europe is shifting towards a more authoritarian position. There are plans to share DNA databases between members and several other issues such as sharing travel and banking information with the US which are currently in the media.

It seems to me that should the EU's values be corrupted and it decide to pursue dictatorial, intrusive policies in the name of terrorism, then individual member states will be permanently unable to defend the privacy of their citizens.

Obviously the UK is partly to blame for the emergence of such tyrannical policies in the first place and will no doubt pressurize other members to follow a similar line. I hope that member states have the courage to stand up for their privacy and freedom. If not, then 1984 will have got another step closer.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The new Times website..what have they done!

In an effort to make the times website more popular, the esteemed Webmasters have decided to use a healthy dose of green. I am unsure whether this will prove to be a leading example of how to make a newspaper site more engaging and accessible or a bit of a joke. What do you think? link.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cameron smoked drugs?

I recall a short time back David Cameron being accused of smoking cannabis. It appears now this has been confirmed. As stupid as this might be, I hardly think he is alone in this. Indeed I read a report on drug use in universities ( and apparently 60% of men and 55% of women admit to smoking cannabis at least once. I don't think these are particularly cheerful findings. It seems to me that as usual young people have been manipulated into thinking that taking drugs/smoking is a good way of rebelling and being cool. Obviously this is completely stupid (just have a look at the side effects of crystal meth).

However the real question in regard to David Cameron is whether mistakes people make in their childhood should prevent them from succeeding in later life. My opinion on this is that people should be allowed to make minor mistakes when young and not spend the rest of their lives having to apologise for it.

The person who really deserves to have to apologise is the guy who gave the story to the media in the first place. Making money off the expense of others is hardly ethical. Nonetheless now this information is in the public domain it seems unlikely anyone can accuse the Conservatives of being out of touch with young people. In fact it may even have the positive effect of convincing teenagers that actually it isn't really that cool after all.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

The search engine I've switched to.

I decided to do a simple experiment a short time ago and not delete my history for a long time. However the results were alarming. It became very clear to me that I was far too dependent on Google, which despite their motto "Don't be evil", may actually prove to be extremely evil. Its not a chance I want to take with all my search information. So I went hunting for a better search engine with a decent privacy policy. Instantly this ruled out Yahoo, MSN/Live and AOL.

I eventually stumbled upon a meta search engine called Ixquick who make a pledge on their homepage to protect user privacy and delete IP addresses from their log files within 48 hours. This is very good and unique amongst the major search engine players.

The search performance is generally good for global/US queries. However if you want to find local information then Ixquick doesn't currently deliver. Nonetheless for standard queries it is certainly worthy of your time and their algorithms do rank pages pretty effectively in my opinion. Try it.

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